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Permits and Approvals

A permit is required for projects such as new construction, additions, remodeling or repairs to electrical, mechanical and plumbing systems. For your convenience, this page contains a list of the most commonly used permits. Please visit the Forms and Publications page to obtain a complete listing of all building forms, information bulletins and other helpful resources. DSD information bulletins and forms are in the process of being updated as needed to reflect instructions for digital submittal processes.
  1. All new permit applications must now be submitted electronically in Open DSD.
  2. All construction changes to projects that were issued prior to May 4, 2020, must be submitted electronically.

  Only permit applications submitted in paper form prior to July 1, 2020, will continue to be processed in paper form by dropping off resubmittals in the first-floor lobby of the Development Services Center, located at 1222 First Ave. 

  • The Project Submittal Manual and PDF icon Information Bulletin #153, respectively, outline submittal and permit issuance requirements. 
  • The first-floor lobby of the Development Services Center is an unstaffed location for document drop-off only. The drop-off service is available at the downtown Development Services Center Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. 
  • Read the posted instructions carefully and place your goldenrod-colored PDF icon Form DS-3500 and corresponding documents on the cart. Physical distancing is in place, so a maximum of eight customers at a time will be allowed into the first-floor lobby to drop project plans and applications. No payments are allowed here. Items left without the completed goldenrod Form DS-3500 will be discarded.
  • For Stamp Transfers, submit all required plans with a completed pink-colored PDF icon Form DS-4000


Alternate Methods and Materials

Apply to submit requests to use alternate materials, design or construction methods or a proposed code modification for your project. All changes, modifications or alterations to the approved plans and specifications during construction must be reviewed and approved by the City of San Diego prior to being incorporated into the construction documents.


Building Permit

This permit ensures that construction projects comply with local, state and federal standards for land use, zoning and construction, and verify compliance with the minimum standards that help safeguard life or limb, public health, property and welfare. Applications for an address/address change should also be submitted in this location. Eligibility for Rapid Review will be determined by staff based on project scope.

Does your project include any of the following?

An application/permit is required for each item below.

  1. Addition/remodel to a single-story dwelling unit (home, condo, townhome, etc.) or a duplex. Learn more about Addition/remodel to a single-story dwelling unit (home, condo, townhome, etc.) or a duplex;
  2. Carports, garages, patio covers, City-standard retaining wall, spa, swimming pool;
  3. Detached/attached Accessory and Junior Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU/JADU), guest quarters;
  4. Interior tenant improvement not associated with any structural work in buildings classified by the California Building Code as Business, Mercantile, Factories and/or Storage occupancy classes, not exceeding 10,000 sq. ft. total or not greater than two floors;
  5. Request for address/address change;
  6. Demolition of a structure; or
  7. Deferred Submittals.


Construction Change to Building Permit & Deferred Submittals

Apply to submit changes to approved Building, Combination, Plumbing, Mechanical and Electrical permits and for deferred submittals. For projects that were issued originally in a paper version, a scanned set of the approved drawings will be required to be uploaded for the reviewers.


Demolition Permit

Demolition/Removal permits are required for the complete demolition and/or removal of any structure and are reviewed for compliance with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard public health, safety, and welfare. The intent of these procedures is to protect the public against personal injury or property damage and to ensure completion of the demolition or removal and cleanup of the site. A Demolition/Removal Permit is not required to demolish part of a structure. Partial demolition will require a Building Permit.


Discretionary Permit

This permit is required when a project may have impacts on the surrounding area due to a proposed use, design feature or project location. Substantial Conformance Review and Amendment requests for existing discretionary permits, all Preliminary Review requests, and development and policy approval requests described in Information Bulletin 503 should be submitted in this location.


Electrical Permit

This permit is required for the installation, alteration, addition or replacement of electrical wiring, devices, appliances or equipment, and to comply with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard life or limb, public health, property and welfare.
Photovoltaic (PV) permits not qualifying for the Residential Rooftop-Mounted Solar PV Permit below and electric vehicle charging stations not requiring a building permit shall be submitted via this link. If the scope of work includes any structural modifications to an existing building, any new structures, or if PV panels are ground-mounted, a Building Permit is required to be submitted.

Are you applying for a simple no-plan Electrical Permit for a minor installation? This includes:

  • Meter reset/re-connections
  • Adding circuits
  • Miscellaneous wirings, such as relocation of electrical outlets, or re-wiring
  • Temporary power poles for construction sites
  • Electric vehicle charging stations for a private garages

To learn more about Simple Permits, see Information Bulletin 103.



Fire Permit

This permit is required for the installation of fire suppression systems, fire alarm system, or component of such systems, and to comply with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard public health, safety and welfare.


Grading Permit

This permit is required when a project will change the topography of a property when conducting certain excavations or filling-in of an area. Construction changes to an existing Grading Permit, Site Reconnaissance and Testing applications, and As-Graded Soils Reports should also be submitted in this location.


Mapping Action Approvals

This approval is required by State law and City Ordinance that the City Land Surveyor review and approve survey documents related to development projects to determine its conformity to law (such as zoning), its satisfaction of a development condition of approval, and its technical adequacy.


Mechanical Permit

This permit is required for the installation, alteration, replacement or repair of addition or replacement of heating, ventilating, air conditioning, or refrigeration system, and to comply with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard life or limb, public health, property and welfare.

Are you applying for a simple no-plan Mechanical Permit for a minor installation? This includes:

  • Installations of a forced air units (FAU) or air conditioner units (A/C)
  • Installations of exhaust fans
  • Replacement of furnaces

To learn more about Simple Permits, see Information Bulletin 103.



Mobile Food Truck Permit

A mobile food truck permit is required for mobile food truck operations on private property.


Paper to Digital Plan Conversion

Apply to convert existing paper applications and plans for Building and Combination Building permits that started in paper form prior to July 1, 2020, into digital formats, helping you submit plans and other documents for your project online 24/7.


Plumbing/Gas Permit

This permit is required for the alteration, addition or replacement of a plumbing system or portion of a plumbing system within or on any structure or premises and to comply with the minimum standards necessary to safeguard public health, safety, and welfare.

Are you applying for a simple no-plan Plumbing Permit for a minor installation? This includes:

  • Water heater replacements, except tankless types
  • Water or sewer piping repairs
  • Gas line repairs
  • Repair or replacement of drains
  • Water softener installations
  • Pressure Reducing Valves (PRV) for domestic service

To learn more about Simple Permits, see Information Bulletin 103.



Preliminary Review

A preliminary review is a flat fee-based service tailored to your specific project to help you obtain general information on the regulations that apply to your project, find out which permits you must obtain, the review process that applies to your development, and obtain interpretations on how the City will apply code provisions to specific situations. Staff responses to your specific questions will be documented and provided to you at the completion of the review.


Residential Rooftop-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Permit

This permit is required to install a rooftop-mounted solar photovoltaic (PV) system on a sloped roof of a single-family home or duplex structure when the PV panels weigh 6 lbs/square feet or less. If the scope of work includes any structural modifications to the existing building, any new structure to support the panels such as carports or shade structures, or if the PV panels are ground-mounted, a Building Permit is required to be submitted.


Right-of-Way Permit

This permit is required for any new construction or aboveground or underground improvements in the public right-of-way, including utilities such as water, sewer, gas and electric lines. The public right-of-way is located outside the boundaries of the private property lines. This permit is also required for encroachments into any public or private utility easement.

Is the requested Right of Way Permit associated with a Building Permit?


Is the requested Right of Way Permit a condition of an associated Discretionary Permit?


Is the requested Right of Way Permit for one of the following improvements?

  • Existing curb or curb & gutter repair/replace
  • Existing Sidewalk repair/replace
  • Existing Driveway remove/replace
  • Minor Encroachments for single family residences such as sidewalk underdrain, fences and walls less than 3 feet in height
  • Sewer lateral/Water service/Gas and Electric services
  • Test Boring
  • Sidewalk Café – Tables and Chairs ONLY


Sign Permit

This permit is required for the installation or alteration of signs.


Street Address Request or Change

This application is to request new street addresses or street address changes not included in an existing building permit application. This application changes or assigns address numbers and is not used to change the street name.


Temporary Outdoor Business Operation Permit

This permit allows for the temporary use of a street, sidewalk, or parking lane for business. Most operations conducted within private properties - including privately-owned parking lots - are NOT required to obtain this permit.


Temporary Use Permit

A temporary use permit (TUP) is for certain uses for limited time periods in locations where the uses would not otherwise be allowed in the applicable zone.


Traffic Control Permit

This permit is required for all public improvement projects, construction projects or other work encroaching into the public right-of-way, including the sidewalks, parking spaces, medians, alleys and streets.


Zoning Use Verification

All properties within the City of San Diego are zoned for a specific use, dictating how each can be developed and used. Proposed uses may require zoning verification for particular business types, including alcohol sales and consumption, California Department of Motor Vehicle (DMV) regulated businesses, animal shelters, firearm sales and galleries and drug treatment facilities.

Is your project related to one of the following permits?

  • News Rack
  • Residential Rooftop-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic (PV)
  • Simple (No-plan) Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing
  • Traffic Control
  • Transportation
  • Construction Changes related to the above permits

- OR -

One of the following permits submitted on or after March 1, 2021?

  • Demolition
  • Fire - Alarms, Kitchen Hoods, Suppression Systems, Underground Fire Services
  • Signs
  • Plan (required) Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing

Yes

When was the permit submitted?

  • After Jan. 15, 2018 for Residential Rooftop-Mounted Solar Photovoltaic (PV), Traffic Control, or Transportation?
  • After April 30, 2018 for Simple Permit – MEP (no-plan Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing)?

No